sigelphoenix: (excited sokka)
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posted by [personal profile] sigelphoenix at 09:36pm on 31/08/2011 under ,
I've been watching a lot of movies lately, mostly because I'm on vacation this week and [personal profile] ratzeo and I randomly decided to spend it with holed up at home with a stack of dvds from Scarecrow.

Actually, the kick-off to my movie binge was seeing Captain America: The First Avenger in the theater. So - okay, the thing is that I've never been a fan of the Avengers. I grew up reading Marvel (only drifting to DC in the last few years) but it was really only X-titles, with the occasional summer crossover event. But I enjoyed what they did with Iron Man a lot, so I decided to try Cap. And somehow I fell head over heels for this movie. I'm not entirely sure why - it's not like it's the most well-crafted film masterpiece or anything, plus there's a lot of baggage attached to the name "Captain America" that makes me side-eye really hard. But somehow I was charmed in spite of myself. The movie plays Cap as unapologetically earnest, without being sanctimonious; they also don't try for gritty or ironic, and that really saves the movie. It did help that Cap and the Multicultural Rangers the Howling Commandos seemed to have been consciously chosen to be racially diverse, in what I consider a very smart choice - yes, you could see the casting as being "PC," but there were a crapton of Howling Commandos in canon, there's no way you could include them all, and if you're doing a movie adaptation then you're necessarily doing some picking-and-choosing of canon and there's really no excuse for just perpetuating the racial biases of Silver Age comics by focusing on the star white dudes. Having Jim Morita and Gabe Jones in the squad is really the bare minimum of not-being-an-asshole on the part of the filmmakers.

Now, I still think there should totally be a film adaptation of Captain America: Truth, but I'm aware of the snowball-in-hell chance of that happening. In my head, though, this totally took place in the movie canon, because the story can easily fit in while Cap is busy with his montages missions against Hydra. And the Steve Rogers in that book is the Steve I find both likeable and canonically believable - he's enough of an idealist to be shocked when he finds out about the government's abuse of their black soldiers, but he also relentlessly pursues some way, however small, of making up for things. The Steve in The First Avenger, to me, is the same character.

... Of course, not to be underestimated is the charm power of Chris Evans as Steve. Or at least for me. I had known that he was playing Cap but sort of shrugged it off, because I'd heard that the Fantastic Four movies (in which he played Johnny Storm) were bad, but figured Marvel Studios knew what they were doing. And, you know, they did. And it wasn't the fact that his chest, as Sebastian Stan (Bucky) described it in an interview, looks like you could drive a car over it. I mean, that helps! But that was added to the earnestness I mentioned before, plus something extra that just really worked. (And whereas I once acknowledged him as a good-looking guy but never found him attractive myself, he is now my new stupid celebrity crush. :P)

Since I became solidly enthusiastic about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, next I saw Thor. And since I'm being shallow, I will say that Chris Hemsworth's body is amazing, and the gratuitous mud-wrestling-followed-by-flexing-in-the-rain scene was very much appreciated. And Jaimie Alexander plays a gorgeously fierce Sif - there's a moment when fighting the Destroyer that she gives a little smirk that is just hrm.

As for the movie itself, I found it really entertaining but not as compelling as Captain America, mostly because, between the Asgard story and the Midgard story, there was so much content competing for your attention that it felt a little disjointed. And while Sif was a great female character, Jane was both less interesting and had less chemistry with her love interest than Peggy from Captain America. But one of Thor's strengths was its humor, which I pretty much think is required for a good superhero story, whether it's a movie or comic. I mean, I am enjoying Christopher Nolan's Batman films, but the "ergh argh GRITTY" flavor means it isn't a story I like to revisit frequently, which is how I like to enjoy my superheroes (this is probably why I like Batman's supporting cast more than Batman himself).

I also liked seeing more of Agent Coulson, who is pretty much my favorite character out of all the movies (okay, maybe tied with Steve), though his part in Thor was less funny than the Iron Man movies. I did like seeing Thor call him Son of Coul, though.

To complete our viewing of the Avengers-related movies, we rented The Incredible Hulk. Again, this was a movie and character that I didn't have much enthusiasm for, but once again Marvel Studios delivered. Betty was, like Jane, given very little worthwhile screen time, but that was pretty much my only problem with the movie. I liked the choice to reduce the origin story to a few scenes, and focus on the (to me) more interesting mental struggle between Bruce and the Hulk. I was also surprised by how impressed I was by the final CG-tastic fight between Hulk and Abomination/Blonsky - that could've easily degenerated into a cheesy and fake-looking brawl, but it was interesting and pretty brutal to watch.

And now I have to sit on my hands and wait until May 2012 for Avengers.

We also rented The Losers ... not exactly because of my ridiculous Chris Evans crush. :P I mean, that's how I found out about it in the first place, but then I saw that it also starred Zoe Saldana and Idris Elba, and ... well, it's really hard for me to say 'no' to that much pretty in one place. The fact that it was based on a comic book sealed the deal.

Apparently the movie wasn't received well by critics, but we loved it. There's definitely some action movie silliness and genericness, but overall it's funny and exciting and, yes, full of pretty. (I didn't know Oscar Jaenada before this, but I do now. Sheesh.) It also includes one of the most entertaining individual scenes I have ever seen in a movie.

(As a side note, Chris Evans reminds me of one of my former coworkers here. It's kind of weird, because I did not find that coworker attractive, but the particular quirkiness of his humor here was remarkably similar. Even [personal profile] ratzeo, who only met that coworker a couple of times, saw it.)

(Another side note, I find it strange how strikingly different Chris Evans looks in different roles. Looking at him as Cap versus Jensen versus Johnny Storm, I honestly don't know if I would've recognized him as the same actor. I'm trying to figure out how he does it, and my best guess is that it's how he holds his eyebrows. And I'll stop talking about Chris Evans now.)

This morning, we watched Monsters vs Aliens, which I rented on [personal profile] starbird's recommendation. She particularly pointed out the strength of the female protagonist, and I agree. Susan is undeniably the main character - the male characters are her supporting cast - and she gets to be cool both on account of her externally-granted super powers and her innate courage and ingenuity. She does have a romantic subplot, but the guy is clearly a plot device, instead of the usual reversed version.

Also, the president of the U.S. is played by Stephen Colbert! You can't say 'no' to that.

Also in our Scarecrow haul are RocknRolla (also on [personal profile] starbird's recommendation, though I have to admit that it jumped up my priority list after I noticed that Idris Elba was in it ...), Blade Runner (because neither [personal profile] ratzeo nor I have seen it, even though it's a sci-fi classic), and Nine (to scratch my musical itch).

Stay-cations are awesome. :D
There are 2 comments on this entry. (Reply.)
posted by [personal profile] royalarchivist at 02:58pm on 02/09/2011
Hehe, Thor. I loved that movie. When I found out they cast the guy from the Star Trek remake I was like, "Really? George Kirk? Really?" I thought there was no way that guy could make a convincing Thor. But... holy cats, that guy put in the hours at the gym. So my only real complaint about Thor the movie is that Thor the character spent entirely too much time with a shirt on. :3

But the character Thor was a perfect balance of hilarious and over-the-top. Thor the deity has always been one of my favorite mythological beings, because he's ridonkulous in an awesome way, I and I think the movie makers captured that really well. I look forward to the Avengers movie just to see more of him being utterly preposterous. XD
sigelphoenix: (geeky spider-man)
posted by [personal profile] sigelphoenix at 02:12am on 03/09/2011
For all the care with which they've chosen eyecandy-worthy actors and actresses, there's been very little gratuitous nudity in the Avengers movies. Enough to be fun, but usually not in a way that distracts/detracts from the scene.

I also want to see more ridonkulous Thor. I can't wait to see his interactions with Tony Stark. XD


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